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Ensigns...more like dollar signs


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For some time now, I have been having a running battle with Uncle Albert regarding which ensign should be flown from Royal Tudor. Uncle Albert feels he is allowed to fly a blue ensign...while I know perfectly well that he's not. Up until now we have flown the 'red duster' from Royal Tudor.


As a compromise I employed a young seamstress (the sewing variety) to make me a copy of the Tudor ensign to fly from the blunt end. I was showing a colleague the design for the 'historical' ensign of green stripes on a white field with the cross of St george in the upper quadrant as per the other ensigns. The colleague thought it apt that Royal Tudor should fly the Tudor ensign but pointed out that I would require permission from the mistress in residence at SW1A 1AA. I have written to ask permission by the way.





My colleague told me that there are certain flags that a British Subject can not fly from a boat...no matter the boat type or their location, sea or inland waterway. Flags included in this prohibition include the Union flag (and I've seen a few of those on Broads) the governing law is section 4 of the merchant shipping act 1995. Apparently there is a £1000 fine for each offence.


Casting my mind back to this time last year and dear Ray (regulo on'tother forum) had some rather spiffing Union flag bunting all over his fine vessel...now a grand per flag...makes your eyes water!

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I was looking through my box of treasures the other day. The might come in handy box, the "I think that I will keep that box" (when I pop me clogs, it will end up in Strumpshaw tip!)

I came across an article from the Lowestoft Journal, dated the May 4th 1962.

It made reference to a Lowestoft man. A trawler skipper. A boat owner, a Broadsman in the true sense of the word.

He earned the right to fly the Skull and Crossbones, the Jolly Rodger, above the White Ensign, for his work in laying anti-submarine nets of islands near the Italian coast in the 1914-18 war.

Thirty six drifter skippers were involved. Out of Taranto. Four were decorated with the D.S.C. And we're presented with parchments stating that they had the right "in perpetuity" to fly the Old Jolly Roger above the White Ensign.

He also received a medallion, bearing the words Death or Glory, from the King of Serbia.

Old Wussername

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Out of the 36 drifter skippers, four were decorated with the D.S.C.

Skipper Walter Scrivens on the Ploughboy.

Skipper W Jenner on The Brothers (?)

Skipper "Toddles" Mayhew on the Exmouth Daisey

Skipper Arthur Cove, a Wenhaston man on the Dulcie Doris.

We're they allowed to fly the Jolly Roger above the White Ensign? I really don't know. Perhaps a fishermans tale!

But certainley the skull and crossbones was frequently used by the military during that period.

Old Wussername

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Royal Tudor has a little bit of memorabilia aboard. For a number of years I was friends with 'Bill' who lived a few doors up from me. A spry old chap in his late 90's, and about six stone wet through, whom I first met while he was in mid pursuit of some miscreants who had been throwing stones at his windows. A firm friendship soon developed with Dylly my beagle stopping by to pay Bill a visit whenever we passed daily and Bill insisting I take a drink with him.


When I first told Bill we were purchasing Royal Tudor he dragged out his box of 'odds and ends' from his families and his days in the Royal Navy. Four generations of Royal Navy men At the bottom of the box was a medal...a VC.


I later found out that Bill had been a crew member aboard HMS Amethyst. By this time Bill was very frail indeed and I asked him who had played him in the film the Yangtze Incident?

"Oh I wasn't in the film." was Bill's reply.

"Why ever not?" I asked.

"Well, John Wayne couldn't do a Lincolnshire accent!"laughed Bill.


I never found out what Bill was awarded the VC for, but his stories of his time in the RN and especially his tales of escorting US prisoners in his role as an M P were enthralling. Bills passing was a sad occasion, he'd called me for help after a fall on the pavement and I had to escort him to the hospital where they found he was suffering from aggressive cancer. Some weeks later there was a knock at my door and his house keeper presented me with a brown paper parcel.

"Bill wanted you to have this and told me to frame it for you.' she said.

Unwrapping the parcel I found a framed 'Battle Ensign' from a submarine Bill had served on as well as a set of first day covers featuring the Royal navy.


Now we don't fly the battle ensign but it does sit proudly in RT's cockpit as a reminder of a brave man who would often ply me with whiskey and brandy and tales of the sea from four generations of his family. I do miss him and his sense of humour...John Wayne indeed!

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